~ Sweet Sophie ~

You are 6 months old today - Where has the time gone ?

December 29th - Just a few minutes old 

I have been trying to savour every moment with you as I know you are my last wee baby and there will be no more after you.

You are a great sleeper - 9 to 10 hours at night and 2 long naps during the day.
You are a wonderful eater and we will be starting cereal in the next few days.
You are 18 pounds 6 ozs...biggest of my three babies at this age !
You have the most fabulous chunky little legs.
You are wearing 9 to 12 month clothes.
You have the greatest laugh and your siblings make you laugh the hardest.
You watch everything your brother and sister do and I just know we are in trouble in a few months.
You love your mama but are a total daddy's girl and can't wait for him to hold you at night when he gets home.
You are getting stronger every day and love bouncing in your exersaucer.
You haven't quite mastered rolling over but are close.
You are starting to sit up more on your own.
You still are not a fan of "tummy" time and mama doesn't really force it.
Your are patience most times unless you are hungry.
You are a true beauty !

Sophie we are so honored that you have joined our family and we love you very much !!  The first 6 months have been amazing and we can't wait to make more memories with you !!

 Happy "6 months" Birthday 
~ Sophie Rhys ~

Notes from the sick bed...

Okay I'm not in bed anymore and the drugs are helping with the sickness.

Friday afternoon I started to feel rather ill and honestly thought it was just a normal cold.  I  promptly handed the kids over to Faruq when he got home and hightailed it to bed for the evening.  I had a rough night but felt better Saturday morning (or so I thought).

Hayden had a birthday party at the zoo and I had made arrangements earlier in the week to meet a lady at Ikea with some Thomas Bedding I was selling on Kijiji.  In reality, I would have loved to just stay home but I went as we had made the arrangements.  After we dropped Hayden off I called the lady and got her answering machine so while I was leaving a message my phone started to beep.  I guess the chick decided she was going to go camping with her family.   WHAT !!!  Thanks for being an inconsiderate twit and not calling or even emailing me to say this.   One guess who didn't get a great deal on Thomas the Train bedding for her kid ?

So we ended up at IKEA anyway and had lunch.  When we were done it was time to collect Hayden from his party.  After snatching him we came home and I pretty much hung out in bed for the rest of the weekend.  It seem to go in a vicious cycle of terrible sweats to being freezing cold then the headache would come and go.  The only constant was the feeling of 100 knives stabbing when I swallowed.

It was a bummer because of it being a double celebration weekend for us with our anniversary and Father's Day.  But it was decided that we would move all parties until this coming weekend.

I was still feeling shitty on Monday morning so booked an appointment with my GP for first thing.  He confirmed what I suspected "Streph Throat".   I got a prescription for antibiotics and almost instantly started to feel better.

I have chatted about this before but it extremely tough to be sick when you have little children and no other family to help.  Our friends of course offered their help but  I refused for fear that if it was Streph and my kids had been exposed then the potential was there to pass it on to them.  But family is a little different especially if it's grandparents.  It's times like this that I feel defeated and helpless but somehow we always manage to get by.

I would have loved for nothing more if Faruq could have stayed home on Monday but work commitments would not allow it so the girls and I just had to cope.  His schedule is usually flexible and he has a very understanding boss who had small kids of his own.

It's a busy week for my handsome boy as well.  He has written 3 final exams and has one left on Friday.  We have attended one birthday party with two more left.  He had a school trip to the zoo on Tuesday and to finish the school year off this coming Monday they have rented out an arcade style place called "Shakers".

I'm finding it tough to believe we have finished another school year and summer break is upon us.  But I'm welcoming the lack of routine for the next few months.  It has been a very busy  6 months since Sophie has joined our family so no schedules for awhile will be a great thing.

It was a rough weekend but we survived like we always do. :}

Back later in the week !!

20 years from now....

Ever wonder what you will look like when you get older...I found a pretty cool website that may help with that and it's free.  Go to here  and give it a try. 

I did pictures of Faruq & I and honestly they are to bad for 60ish.

Enjoy !!

Everyone meet "Bob"

I have adopted him as my 4th child and have labelled him as my most "helpful" one.  You see he will never talk back to me or stomp upstairs mad.  He won't be grumpy in the morning or refuse to eat his breakfast.  He won't make any messes for me to clean up instead he will just provide me with a much needed sanity break during the summer days.

We love Bob and hope that he is a part of our little family for a very long time to come !!

New Banana Bread Recipe

I tried this recipe a few weeks back and like it much better then my normal one.  I hope you enjoy it !!


1 cup of very ripe pureed bananas (approx 6)
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar and it was fine)
1/4 cup oil (you can sub melted unsalted butter)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 5/8 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Coca-cola (I used Coke Zero but probably wouldn't use Diet Coke as it has a different taste)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

How to Make it :

1. Preheat oven to 300 Degrees.
2. Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray (I used
this method and it worked great)
3. Puree your bananas  - I used my blender.
4. In a mixer blend sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla - Approx. 1 minute.
5. Measure and mix (in a separate bowl), all the dry ingredients except the nuts.
6. Add puree to mixer bowl that contains ingredients in step 5.
7. Add dry ingredients to mixer bowl as well adding the coca cola to mixture as it's blending.
8. Blend until smooth - approx 1 min.
9. Blend in nuts by hand (if you are adding them)
10. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan.
11.  Place loaf pan on baking sheet in oven.
12.  Bake for 1 hour or until loaf tests done in the middle with a toothpick.  (I started checking at 50 minutes).
13.  When done let cool for 10 to 15 minutes then turn loaf out of pans to finish cooling.

Note:  It is very moist and hubby preferred my old recipe as it is denser more like pound cake which is his favorite.  The kids I think like this one a little better as did I

Wordless Wednesday - June 16th "Miss Sophie"

Oh Sunny day...Please come back so we can break this beauty out !

The kids (namely Hayden) have been asking for one of these for the past year.  His best buddy has one and they always have a great time in it.   I refuse to the let kids go in the ones they have in public places because of the "germ" factor.

I was looking at the London Drugs flyer a couple of days ago and they had the baby below for $99....What a steal as they are listed for $299 on the Toys R Us website.  I knew they would be gone as soon as the doors opened this morning and I couldn't envision myself with two little ones trying to fight to get one.  So daddy volunteered to go get one for us before heading to work.

At our local London Drugs store they received 30 and by the time Faruq got there at 8:45 there was already a line at the door.  They did it smartly though by handing out numbers to the first 30 people so there wasn't a mad rush when they opened the doors at 9.

I can't wait for the sunny weather to come back and start using it !!

Weekend fun !!

Our weekend was just packed with activity after activity but it was an awesome 2 days !!

Friday evening I finished getting ready for our garage sale and we headed to bed earlier then usual.  Bright and early Saturday morning everyone around us opened up their garage doors and we set out to sell our treasures.  While the traffic through our street was rather light it was so nice to visit with all of our neighbors,  kids just wandered between homes collecting little treats at each spot while the Mama's took turns provide delicious snacks and drinks for each other.  It has been a very long winter and it had been too long since we had a good old fashion block party.

You see our neighborhood wasn't always like this but since we have moved in we have gotten to know almost every house in our little cul-d-sac and it has become a real community here.  We look out for each other homes, shovel driveways when we know someone is away, drop off meals when there is a new baby or someone is sick.  A lot of people say you don't find that in bigger cities but we have and I feel very blessed to be part of it.

Sorry...back to our garage sale ...I had a few people right at 8 who bought nothing then it picked up a bit from 10 to 1.  My method for pricing was to go a little higher and know that the "real hard core" garage salers  would barter but I had seriously started to question my method after the first few left.   But it turned out pretty much as I thought , so doing it my way was the best...I ended getting the price that I truly wanted.  I didn't move any big items but did manage to get rid of lots of little stuff.  In the end we were close to $600 in profit.

I only had one guy that we asked to leave as he got really belligerent when we refused his offer...It was on a Thomas the Train Roundhouse (a very large and expensive piece for the train table).  I just had a bad feeling about him as soon as he started talking to me.  He accused us of lying that it was actually an authentic Thomas the Train piece because he said all pieces are stamped (ah no they aren't jackass as Faruq proofed by bringing out 3 pieces),  then said he would only offer $10 - it was marked $20 (but retails for over $120 bucks) and when I said no he slammed in down on the floor and left.

He returned about 5 minutes later and again tried to barter the price but $15 because it had a few marker streaks on it from when Hayden did a little artwork on it.  That is in fact why it was only $20 in the first place because we could have asked more if they weren't there.  The A-hole knew even at $20 it was an amazing deal and that's why he came back.  It just went from back to worse and the conversation just got stupid.  Faruq was quietly sitting on the front deck with Sophie but couldn't stand it any longer,  walked into the garage and just told the guy to get off his property.   Faruq is close to 6 ft while this guy was maybe 5 ft so to say the least I think he was a little freaked out and hightailed without the piece.

Well within an hour this little guy and his dad came by.  The little munchkin was instantly attracted to the  piece but his dad said that they couldn't afford it.  We chatted for awhile and he said his mom was working today and they had just went out for a walk.  He had gotten laid off from his job just after Christmas and hasn't found full time work yet (sad but it's a similar story around here).  Anyway, I'm happy to say the little guy is now the proud owner of his first piece of Thomas the Train.  I decided that this was a far better recipient to receive it and gifted it to him.  In the end it was really never about the money too bad the other jerk didn't get that.

Saturday evening we had great friends over for a yummy food feast and drinks which was exactly what I needed after my day of selling.  Faruq managed to get out for 18 holes this morning with his golfing buddies.  Then this afternoon a friend dropped by with fresh fruit from her garden and we ended up having Mojitos on my front porch while the kids played.

It was just a perfectly delightful weekend which I hope to repeat many times over (minus the garage sale) for the rest of our summer.  Back to reality tomorrow morning but only for 2 more weeks until the summer break officially kicks off !!  Then my neighbors and I can have mojitos every afternoon and not have to worry about picking up kids from school (I kid we won't have them everyday maybe only every second day).

I hope you all had a lovely, warm and peaceful weekend !!

Chow for now !

Garage sale this weekend....

I'm getting ready for my big "blowout" garage sale on Saturday but honestly I'm having anxiety just trying to price things.  I know that to get rid of all my (junk) treasures you need to price the items right but I'm struggling with the right price vs. just giving it away.

I have a ton of "baby" stuff that I need to remove from my house as well as various household items that we have not used since relocating to Calgary almost 5 years ago so I think it's save to let them go.

Hayden has gone through his toys and has a pile that he is willing to part with.  He will be donating his proceeds to the Children's hospital.  That's my boy !!

Anyone have a good reference they use when pricing items I would love to hear it !

Adventures in Baking (Part 2)

Preparing pans for baking

I have always had a problem with my cakes sticking so I obviously was not greasing my pans enough but again thanks to my friends Goggle and YouTube I found something that will help with that.

Mix 1 cup of shortening, 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil together.  It will make a mixture similar to shortening.  Using a pastry brush completely cover the inside of your pan with this and the cake literally slides out of the pan.

It makes almost 2 cups so it will last for quite awhile just store it in an air tight container.

I have used it on 3 cakes as well as muffin tins and it worked lovely !!

Baking Strips

These little babies will help ensure you cake bakes evenly throughout and you will not get that domed top in the middle.  I actually had a set of these from a cake decorating class I took awhile back and totally forgot about them.  I pulled them out and used them on both cakes and didn't have to level the cakes at all as they were totally flat on the top.

You can try to make your own using old pieces of material but honestly I preferred these store bought ones.  You will need two to go around a 9x13 pans.

A must have even if you are using a store bought cake mix.

In the end I made some pretty great cakes for Hayden's party but more importantly learnt a ton of things that will help make things easier in the kitchen from now on.

Happy Baking !!

Adventures in Baking (Part 1)

So when I set out to Hayden's birthday cake this year I didn't realize I still had so much to learn about baking properly.  I have always considered myself to be pretty decent in the kitchen but lord I learnt so much last week I had to share a few of my tips.....

Firstly the cakes...Hayden stated early on that he wanted a chocolate cake so I tried no less then 6 chocolate cake recipes trying to find my favorite.  I honestly didn't know this cake would be so difficult to make but I found out pretty quick it was.

I turned to one of my favorite websites RecipeZaar and found what I think is one of the best cakes I have ever tasted.  You must try this chocolate cake....it is sooo moist and was a huge hit at the party.

For the Vanilla cake I used the following recipe I found on a YouTube channel called Serious Cakes.  This lady is extremely talented so you really must stop by and have a peek. 

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees (if using a darker pan set oven at 325) and grease your pans.


2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup of shortening
2 cups of granulated sugar
3 tsp of Vanilla
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cup of milk


In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt (by sifting the ingredients it makes the cake a little softer).

In a large mixing bowl blend together the shortening and sugar scrapping the bowl a few times.  Beat until light and creamy but still a little grainy (approx 3 to 4 minutes).   Now add the vanilla and the eggs (one at a time).  Remember to scrap the bowl a few times so the ingredients are a mixed thoroughly.

Now you are going to alternate adding a 3rd of the flour mixture and a 3rd of the  milk until it is all added.  Do not over mix but ensure it is all incorporated.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes and check for doneness by putting a toothpick in the middle of the cake.  If it comes out nearly clean with just a few crumbs it's done.

Cool on a baking rake for 10 minutes then carefully run a knife around the edges and carefully turn cake out on the rake.  Once cooled wrap in saran wrap until you are ready to use.

This cake was a huge hit at the party and it will be my new vanilla "go to" cake !!

More on the party...

Like I said in the last post the LEGO party was a pretty easy theme in the end.

For the cake I used 2 9x13 cakes - one chocolate and one vanilla for the blocks.  I cut them into a 4 knob, 2 knob and 1 knob to equal 7 for the birthday boy's age.  For the knobs I used rice krispies squares covered in fondant then iced them (this part was a PITA and I figure there has to be a better way to do them).

For plates, napkins and cutlery I went to our local dollar and picked up stuff in primary colors.

For the loot bags we bought  a small activity book from Michaels, a wooden puzzle in the primary colors, everyone got one of these, a bag of lego candy....

And Faruq made these neat keychains with a few inexpensive supplies from Michaels and LEGO's in Hayden's stash.

I used some colored bags that I had in my craft supplies for the actual loot bag that I wasn't going to use and made little name tags for each one. It worked perfectly because I had pink/purple for the girls and blue/green for the boys.  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of those.  :{

The the whole loot bag cost us just under $10 which I know is a lot to some but honestly it's hard to do it for less.  I have always preferred to spend a bit more and get things that are useful rather then just cheap little toys that will just break before they even get them home.

We had the actual party at a local "retro" bowling alley and the kids had a blast.  I typically like home birthdays as they are a more personal but there were 16 kids invited to the party and I honestly didn't think I could handle that many at home.  We would have had to most likely hire an entertainer for the first hour and provided food so the cost was pretty close to what we paid for  the kids to bowl and have pizza afterwards.  Plus I didn't have to worry about cleaning before or after the party.

He received a ton of new LEGO and surprisingly there was no repeats but he utterly shocked us last night after we got home by telling us that because he had gotten so much he wanted to take half and give it to the Children's hospital here in Calgary.  This is not the first time Hayden has done this so I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised by this gesture.   His dad told him because of his generosity he will take him to Toys R Us and match what he gives to the hospital and he was thrilled.  I'm very proud mama for sure !

To celebrate his actual birthday on July 3rd Hayden is going to have 2 or 3 of his best buddies over for a movie and dinner out then back to ours for a sleepover.

Happy "early"  7th Birthday Hayden  !!  I'm honored to be your mama !  I have enjoyed the last 7 years so much and look forward to many more with you.

Hayden's 7th Birthday Party !!

I have been MIA for the last week getting ready for Hayden's birthday party today !!  We had a fabulous time but everyone is pretty tired from the days activities.  He wanted the LEGO theme this year and it was actually pretty easy to do.

I will post more details in the next few day but here are a few pictures ...

Chow !!

Lots of activities...

Boy can someone learn a lot about a subject today with the use of internet !!  I always felt I wasn't a a bad baker but after undertaking the task of creating Hayden's birthday cake this year I have needed to go to my friends Google and YouTube for advice and information.  I have learnt a few really good tricks and techniques that I will share with you when I have time.

I have discovered that Fondant is the the devils work but while I was defeated in my first attempt to use it I will eventually conquer it when I have more time.

Laila has decided that it is time to potty train and seems to be taking to the idea pretty well...We have been in underpants for 3 days during the day with very few accidents.  She still wears her diaper at night and I usually leave her in it until after her morning poop (sorry if that's TMI).  She doesn't mind the peeing in the potty but #2 isn't happening yet.

Her speech has exploded over the last 2 weeks and it's been so neat communicating with her this way now.  I find her mini tantrums have almost stopped as well and I really feel that it was her way of expressing herself when she couldn't communicate her feelings.

We are having Hayden 7th Birthday this coming Sunday and while he is super excited I'm still left wondering where the last 7 year have gone.  He is maturing into such a smart and funny young man I hardly recognize him.   He is busy preparing for his finals at school in a few weeks and impatiently waiting for the end of school in exactly 25 days (but who's counting).

Sophie is still just lovely and she to is growing at a very rapid rate (which secretly makes me very sad).   She has started to sit up by herself and move around  when left on her back on a blanket.  I suspect we are going to get a few teeth any day now as she is sucking on anything she can get her little mouth on.  I picked up some cereal for her last week and will probably start that within the month.

I'm getting ready for a garage sale next week and again this makes me sad as I'm parting with all my newborn things.  No sense in keeping any of it as there will no more little "Suleman's".  :}

We are finally getting some nice weather again after Mother Nature decided to treat us to another blast of winter last week.  So depressing when you get used to lovely warm days only to be greeted with snow and cold temps.  Hopefully we are now in the clear and will enjoy some warm days !

I think that's about it for us this week...I hope everything is enjoy the sunny weather !!